BOAT: Guildford Road/Golf Road

Location: Worth, Kent, UK
The rich people that live here and the golfers really, really don't want you to drive this byway. They feel it is 'exclusive'. So, all the more reason drive it!

Starting at its western end, just outside Sandwich, the byway (which is clearly signposted as such) diverges from the metalled Guildford Road around to the immediate north of the toll house (don't try and drive the metalled road to the immediate south: they'll charge you!). This is protected by a substantial metal barrier but it is usually open when the toll house is manned. There is no legal reason as far as I am aware to pay the £7 (!) toll: I believe that it only applies to driving on the metalled private road that runs parallel to this byway and they cannot charge you for or prevent you from exercising your legal right of access any more than if you were on foot.

The byway continues on a flat, firm, sandy, unrutted surface which, in places, the grass is starting to take a hold of once again, it's very easy going indeed and the only obstacles are occasional overspill from the sizeable, pretentious gardens attached to sizeable, pretentious, characterless houses. I know what you're thinking: there's little to recommend this byway, and you'd be right. But once you've left these houses behind the byway comes into it own for a while. It passes a (very) small nature reserve on a short stretch of the metalled road which runs as far as Dickson's Corner (TR364568, N51 26' 10", E001 38' 70"), where the tarmac ends and the sand resumes its south-easterly thrust.

This sandy track takes you over the approach to the 9th (I think...) green of the Royal Sandwich Golf Course (another reason why we are not welcome here !) so beware of little white balls flying at you from absurdly-dressed, over-privileged bigots flailing around with metal sticks!  The byway then runs parallel to a number of other holes (the same warning stands) before once again running for a very short stretch of metalled road leading up to the a housing development call 'Greenacres'. I presume this name is ironic, as the development must have obliterated a fair acre or two of countryside in the building, leaving very little of the 'green' that was once there before! Here, you must turn left into the car park of Chequers Kitchen Cookery School  & Restaurant (TR368556, N51 25' 10", E001 39' 30") to find the byway once again, which leaves the car park to the south.

© Stephen Craven, commons licence.
The byway continues for a fair stretch between the holes until rejoining Golf Road at the clubhouse of the hugely patriotic 'Royal St George's Golf Course' where it ends. Not really worth the fuss and bother of visiting but it must have been a very wild, beautiful place before the game of golf was invented!

Sandwich is a beautiful, unspoiled, ancient town that is well worth a visit. Of interest to ornithologists is the Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory, which can be found just after passing the northern toll house; to historians both Sandown and the rather more complete Deal Castle (both in Deal); and for foodies Chequers Kitchen Cookery School & Restaurant.

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